The most amazing part about living in a country with outstanding research laboratories, incredibly well trained scientists, and sophisticated pharmaceutical capabilities, is the advent of new medications at an alarmingly impressive rate. However, not every new medication is “better” than those used in the past.
My patients often ask me why I don’t prescribe the newest medication on the market for their particular skin condition. The reality is that newer doesn’t always mean better. But newer almost always means more expensive. Generic medications are those that have expired patents. Theoretically, generic medications are far cheaper to produce and subsequently sold at much more affordable prices. With insurance companies paying less and less towards medications, cost is a very serious consideration.
The Pharmabro (daraprim) debacle shows us that even the generic medication market can be cornered and the prices unethically increased to maximize profit. I am not opposed to prescribing newer brand name medications. Biologics, the newest class of medications in the treatment of conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, are absolutely incredible. I prescribe them without hesitation, taking into account the severity of my patients’ disease processes and the side effect profile. Oftentimes, specialty pharmacies are able to assist with lowering prices for patients. That being said, many new medications in the market don’t offer a superior clinical outcome.
Therefore, I tend to stick to prescribing generic medications in an attempt to be more cost conscious in an environment of increasingly higher monthly insurance premiums, rising deductibles, and overall lower coverage. Despite my affinity for generic medications, I constantly keep up with the newest dermatology medications on the market.
During your visit, don’t hesitate to ask me about my thoughts on a particular one!